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3 Mistakes In 3 Phases: How Tejashwi Yadav Missed The Bus In Bihar

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When I disagreed with the opinion polls on the Bihar Assembly election (C-Voter predicted NDA to win 160 seats and CSDS predicted 133-143 seats for NDA) through my article on this platform, many of my friends appreciated my logic but cautioned me that I perhaps underestimate the Modi-Magic. The good thing was that the C-Voter supremo Yashwant Deshmukh appreciated my logic.

Image provided by the author.

Then, the exit poll came after the voting ended. It gave a completely different picture than that of the opinion polls. Except for Sudarshan, all others gave MGB an advantage and a couple of polls even predicted MGB sweeping the Bihar election. I was again asked by my friends for an analysis of the exit poll.

Except for the two outlier polls, the rest of the exit polls indicated a tough fight. I relied upon C-Voter’s data which predicted NDA- 104-128 and MGB 108-131. That means either of the two coalitions could win. NDA could win only if the caveat, that I had given in my previous article, came true. I’ll mention it here again.

‘The only caveat is that sometimes, pro-BJP voters in a dissent mode don’t vote. In such a case, there could be low turn-out and because GDSF (Grand Democratic Secular Front, which is an alliance of many small parties) may eat-away sizable vote shares of MGB, it will make NDA win the majority. This would also enable Nitish Kumar to retain power albeit with a lesser mandate which could officially make JDU as a smaller partner to BJP in Bihar.”

Then the final result went in favour of NDA with 125 seats and MGB was restricted to 110 seats only. However, I think this election could have been won by Tejashwi Yadav had he not committed some cardinal mistakes. Which ones? Read on!

Here are the phase-wise evaluations.

First Phase: Nitish’s Anti-Incumbency

A total of 71 seats were contested in this first phase. The voter turnout was 54%. It’s not low compared to Bihar’s electoral history. Nitish Kumar was suffering huge anti-incumbency and LJP was really hurting JDU and to some extent BJP also. The result also spoke the same. MGB got a huge 47 seats (RJD-31 Cong-9 and CPI-ML-7) whereas NDA trailed with just 22 seats. (BJP-12, JDU-6, and HAM-S-4). MGB was way ahead and NDA was trailing measurably.

Second Phase: How BJP-NDA Changed Strategy To Turn The Tables

In this phase, there were 94 seats. The voter turn-out was also 54.64%. NDA knew that it had lost the first phase. Thus, the strategy changed. Narendra Modi took over the charge of campaigning and Nitish Kumar’s photo vanished from the posters.

However, that wasn’t enough to defeat a rushing MGB. But then Tejaswi committed a cardinal mistake.

Not only did he allow Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Modi bashing’ campaigns but he also took part in attacking Narendra Modi. In the 2015 Bihar election, Nitish Kumar showed the way in how to defeat Narendra Modi.

The formula is simple. Don’t attack Narendra Modi. Attack the state leader only. Because like ‘Ram-Naam’ is bigger than Lord Ram himself, ‘Modi’s persona is bigger than Modi himself.

That’s why not only Nitish Kumar refrained to attack Narendra Modi but also restricted Rahul Gandhi’s campaign in Bihar. That gave dividend to MGB in 2015. (Then Nitish and Lalu united to defeat Modi led BJP)

The attack on Nitish Kumar was alright. But the blistering attack on Narendra Modi angered the voters who appreciate Narendra Modi and BJP but are disappointed with Nitish Kumar. Thus, such voters who were giving their votes to LJP in the first phase started giving back to JDU.

Also, Chirag Paswan gave a statement about jailing Nitish if he’s found guilty of corruption. That stance really irritated people who were even disappointed with Nitish Kumar. Well, Nitish Kumar may be facing anti-incumbency but no one agrees that he did anything for which he will have to go to jail. So LJP hurting JDU suddenly stopped from the second phase onward. The result of the second phase too is then self-explanatory.

NDA got 51 seats whereas MGB got 42 seats. Frankly, the lead of (51-42) 9 seats wasn’t enough for NDA to cover the backlog of the first phase. But the third phase became a water-loo for Tejaswi’s immature decisions.

Third Phase: A Waterloo For Tejashwi’s Immature Decisions

The voter turn-out was 57.58%, the highest in the three phases. As I had noted in my caveat, if Grand Democratic Secular Front (GDSF) eats away MGB’s vote, then NDA would win. The result showed that.

GDSF took 5 seats in this phase (overall six seats) but seriously dented the prospects of MGB. NDA won 52 seats whereas MGB was restricted to just 21 seats. In any state election, the importance of smaller parties is always there. Despite a dominant party in UP, BJP has a coalition with Apna Dal.

In Bihar too, NDA had a coalition with VIP and HAM-S, who gave 8 important seats for achieving the majority. Tejashwi gave away 70 seats to a depleting Congress but didn’t accommodate smaller parties. Two of them came to the NDA fold and the rest (RLSP, SBSP, JPS, and SJDD) formed an alliance with AIMIM and BSP. All four parties couldn’t win a single seat, but they hurt MGB a lot.

Those small parties became instrumental for AIMIM to win 5 seats and BSP one seat. The point is simple- Tejashwi Yadav could have been a bit mature while accommodating smaller parties.

Thus, I would say it very clearly that Tejashwi Yadav just missed the bus because of some cardinal mistakes he shouldn’t have committed. What’s your opinion?

Featured image source: Parwaz Khan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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  1. Satish Khairwal

    I appreciate the detailed observation about mistakes which should be avoided but i have another viewpoint about this whole election since compaign till result. In my opinion this election start with the Tejasvi and end with Tejasvi. Tejasvi successful filled that vaccum created after Lalu and Nitish era. We should not ignor that opposition couldn’t make the ‘Lalu’s so called jungle raj’ an issue just because the Tejasvi counter strategic moves.He also established himself without any help from any of allies or dynasty of his father. Earlier he held the position of Deputy CM as Lalu’s son but in this election he changed this narrative.Now Tejasvi is undisputed Leader of Bihar irrespective of the fact that he couldn’t get chief minister position. Also i find him one of most successful leader among second generation of family run political parties of entire country. So i find this election as a big victory of Tejasvi Yadav irrespective of said mistakes.

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